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POLAKATSIKES (Dominion of)
Location: Continent of Davania, eastern Meghala Kimata Plains. DV
Area: Approx. 336 sq. mi. (870 sq. km.).
Population: 7,950 (includes roughly 200 Heldannic Knights), approx. 1,050 in the countryside. Population has been reduced due to wartime losses.
Languages: Heldannic, Milenian (Polakatsikan dialect).
Coinage: Heldannic Standard: groschen (5 gp), gelder (gp), erzer (ep), markschen (sp), fenneg (cp).
Taxes: Every citizen's worth is assessed annually, and is taxed at a rate of 20%.
Government Type: Military dictatorship, member of the Heldannic Empire, town council has some autonomy.
Industries: Agriculture (mainly wheat, potatoes, and other vegetables), cattle, crafts, sheep, smithing.
Important Figures: Wolfgang Stemmel (Landmeister), Trimos Sortiropolis (Former Bürgermeister).
Flora and Fauna: The plant life that is to be found here is typical of that in subtropical plains. One can find sturdy grasses of all forms (including the more exotic types such as grab grass), as well as bushes and shrubs, and occasional stands of cypress and other tropical trees.
The animal life is no less typical. Here one may find all forms of birds, including vultures, coexisting with antelopes, boars, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, lions, monkeys, snakes, and wild horses. Among the more exotic animals to be found here are blink dogs, the occasional chimera, displacer beasts, and purple worms (though these are thankfully rare).
Further Reading: Previous almanacs.
Description by Friedrich von Eisendorf.
In the 1015th year after the crowning of the first emperor of Thyatis, the mighty armies of Vanya plunged their swords deep into Davania, and struck a death blow against the people who caused our Patroness much grief in life-the Milenians! We were commissioned by Vanya Herself to prove our devotion by conquering land in the heart of the continent, and by defeating a people She has long disliked. Although outnumbered, our superior arms, armour, and training won the day against the defenders of the town of Polakatsikes. The town has been added to the Heldannic Territories, and is henceforth the Heldannic Dominion of Polakatsikes!
Polakatsikes lies in the heart of the Meghala Kimata Plains, and is itself not too far from the Meghales Amosses Desert. The town itself is surrounded by good farmlands, and a range of hills known as Larnian Hills lies to the east. Of these hills, Pelmos Hill is the tallest in the group, and was the site of the greatest battle in the conquest of this town. Out of respect for our fallen enemies, and our own, a monument was built to the dead of both sides atop that hill. Towards the north, the grasses become taller, as one nears the great forests of the Jungle Coast. Towards the south, the land becomes more hilly and arid, until the Meghales Amosses Desert takes over. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this land lies in the Larnian Hills, where many great springs literally burst from underground, spouting water that slowly flows northwest. Various tiny rivers also run from the hills, and these join up with this flow from underground. By the time one reaches Polakatsikes, these flows have merged into the beginning of the Meghalo Fithi River, a tremendously long waterway that is said to flow into the Sea of Dread itself, slowly gathering strength as its presses northwestwards. Despite the relative closeness to the desert, northern winds bring a great deal of humidity from the Jungle Coast-surely a blessing for the farmers!
The people of our newest dominion are of Milenian stock. The average citizen of Polakatsikes is rather short, but stocky. They tend toward olive complexions, and many of the men are bearded. All of the able-bodied are in excellent physical condition; their lives before we righteously conquered them were simple, but hard. They would make fine warriors for our armies.
They have a surprisingly structured society for such an isolated people-every citizen of the town has a specific profession, and there is a definite hierarchy in their society, such that the town leaders, the generals, and the most skilled craftspeople carry the most influence. Still, this system makes for mob rule; their town council was little more than an arena for shouting matches when we arrived, and I am surprised they managed to agree with each other long enough to resist us as long as they did. Be that as it may, our form of government for the town, under the wise leadership of Templar Wolfgang Stemmel, and in cooperation with Trimos Sortiropolis, the original town council leader, is not oppressive for them. I have heard of no complaints.
These people, despite their heritage, have little regard for history. Most of them are concerned with everyday survival, and there are too many pressing concerns to worry too much about where one comes from and how one's heritage affects current events. They maintain their buildings, they speak their language, and follow some of their ancient customs and celebrations, but little more. They simply do not have the time or the energy to devote to rebuilding Milenian culture. This is just as well for us, as it would make them rather difficult to rule if they were prone to romanticising their past, but I digress.
Despite their shortcomings, the Polakatsikans are a very independent-minded and steadfast people. They have always had to depend on themselves for survival, and judging from the town itself, they had done admirably. They are quite disciplined and organized, and seem to be receptive of outside ideas, especially if they prove themselves to be better than those that currently exist.
Polakatsikes was established around BC 100 or so, not long before the collapse of the Milenian Empire itself. In fact, it was among the southernmost Milenian settlements at the time, and was quite isolated. When the empire collapsed, the townsfolk simply retreated within their walls and waited out the next thousand years, tending to their farms, and defending their lands in times of need. Existing town records tell tales of recurring invasions on the part of desert and humanoid tribes from the south, but all of these were too disorganised and poorly-equipped to succeed in conquering Polakatsikes. As a result, the Polakatsikans looked after themselves, and seldom had contact even with the other city-states.
The only outsiders who managed to conquer this town to date have been the Heldannic Knights. The fact that the town is no longer independent has shocked all but the most stalwart citizens of this tiny land, making resistance in the near future improbable. Some of the town's youth have become enamoured by the novelty of the knights, and some have begun to emulate them to a degree.
In AC 1016, the encroachment of the Heldannic Knights attracted the attention of the city-state of Mivosia, and the two regional powers soon descended into hostility. During the following year, Mivosia's legions poured across the Meghala Kimata Plains, conquering numerous petty states along the way. They did not manage to conquer Polakatsikes, and suffered considerable casualties during their assaults. Nonetheless, Heldannic territorial ambitions in the region have been checked for the time being, as the colonial regime focuses its energies on reconstruction.
Those who are interested in classical Milenian architecture and culture will not be disappointed in Polakatsikes. One can find public buildings with graceful pillars and statues, fountains, beautiful groves, clean paved streets, and a functioning sewer system. Many of the larger buildings were constructed when the town was first established, which means they date back a thousand years at least. One can also see changing building styles over the ensuing centuries simply by walking down a street. The weight of history is present in Polakatsikes.
One interesting place to see is the Town Forum, a sort of indoor amphitheatre where the town council, and now the Heldannic governors as well, discuss important policies and ideas. Most such meetings are open to the public, and citizens are free to ask questions. Discussions have been much more subdued of late, as the town council and the knights seek ways to work together.
Another place worthy of visiting is the Library, the only source of written knowledge locally. Here specially-trained caretakers have maintained a collection of scrolls and books, some centuries old. Many of them recount local events over the past thousand years, but others are collections of tales concerning Milenian legends and lore. Surely a wealth of information lies within for those so inclined!
In the coming years, visitors will want to see the Cathedral of Polakatsikes, when it is completed. Needing a suitable place of worship, the knights have taken over an abandoned house for now, but already the foundations are being laid for what will be an average-sized, but grand, cathedral devoted to Vanya. It should be completed within the next couple of years, and will be a sight to behold in comparison to the local buildings.
Finally, the professional displays of martial skill on the part of the Heldannic Knights stationed here are always a sight worth seeing. Every day there is a parade in front of the Town Forum, with shining swords and armour flashing, and banners billowing proudly. Some of the locals have come to watch these soldiers from a far-off land display their prowess, and have always walked away impressed.
While there is no place within Polakatsikes that should be avoided due to danger, thrill-seekers would do well to avoid the central marketplace of the town. The chaos that is to be found there every day is sufficient to drive even the most balanced mind insane. Gesticulating hawkers compete for the attention of unwary shoppers, while pickpockets glide through the crowds. If you want to experience a dreary market, go to Hockstein or some other backwater town.